The Crows by Paulette Powell

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The Crows


by Paulette Powell


Crows fly Charlie couldn’t stop talking about the crows, “The crows, I’ve never seen anything like it before! I tell you, hundreds, weighing down the tree limbs… when it was over, all of a sudden, the whole flock flew away.”

He’d taken several snapshots of the family. On second inspection, I could see Charlie’s signature style, “photo victims” standing in obedience, as though his pic would be featured in the Telegraph magazine. It was always about presentation, even if it weren’t the truth. He was good at directing and folks would comply.

A family portrait. There was Uncle Peter, the poet, and sweet Aunt Elizabeth. Cousins, David and Emma, who once visited us in NYC, right after David’s great bump on the head that proved a miracle awakening. Brother Benedict, looking like a Hell’s Angel, his aura of defiance fighting his English attire. Alongside conservative sister in law, Liz, whose gray hair and glasses were neatly packaged in school teacher manner, revealed Benedict wasn’t really the black sheep to marry a practical spouse. The Parents, were located in the center. “Mum”, a tormented matriarch, who did her best to bare a heavy cross of a sick girl. Her face still revealed a handsome woman, a diplomat’s wife. And “Dad”, who seemed always distant, unattainable for family but faithful to Kate. His eyes revealed a deep sadness beneath a hard exterior, betrayed the knighted war hero. He wasn’t made of stone, but marble layers of duty kept him locked away, sentencing him to a numb existence.
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The Unbearables Big Book Of Sex — review by Lehman Weichselbaum

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The Unbearables Big Book Of Sex


Review by Lehman Weichselbaum

unbearables big book of sex coverTHE UNBEARABLES BIG BOOK OF SEX , edited by Ron Kolm, Carol Wierzbicki, Jim Feast, Steve Dalachinsky, Yuko Utomo and Shalom Neuman.
Autonomedia/Unbearables Books.
2011. 640 pps. $18.95

First, to dispense with the obvious: The Unbearables Big Book Of Sex is not a stroke book. To be sure, you (or the grubby inner adolescent of you) will find, inevitably, a sprinkling of verifiable “dirty parts” (as a time-saving service, we refer you to pgs. 156, 165, 431 and 485). But savvy readers, looking past the book’s formal category as “erotica,” will surmise that the words “Unbearables” and “sex” appearing in the same title will more than likely yield, for the most part, a bumptious pageant of squalid missed connections, subliminal-to-outright multi-gendered abuse, delusional gambits of seduction and, overall, a Cook’s tour of carnal dysfunction in its myriad sordid forms. And, of course, they will be right.

The volume under review is the latest in a series of “big book” anthologies squired by the band of convivial literary incendiaries who call themselves “The Unbearables” — presumably after the classic novel by Milan Kundera. Like the other collections, this one includes several score contributors, many recurring from previous compendia, that include a few marquee names (Delaney, Malanga, Kostelanetz, Litsky), as well as familiar figures from New York’s alternative lit scene and sundry more from God knows where. Entries span most conceivable genres: fiction, memoir, poetry and criticism, as well as a lush center insert of visual art, which seems to favor the porno-collagiste.
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World War III Will Start in the Minds of the Deprived and in the Hearts of the Depraved by Jose Padua

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Trash day morning

World War III Will Start in the Minds of the Deprived and in the Hearts of the Depraved

lost in an ocean of shit
I’d gotten myself
in a discussion
of Fascism
with an ex-Army man
from Chicago at this bar.
He didn’t like the way
the word got tossed around,
having something specific in mind.
I was trying
to throw the meaning everywhere,
from politics and law
on down to the ancient practice of foot binding
and the excessive use of make up
by women who aren’t hookers.
All the time my eyes were
on the barmaid’s hips which
were squeezed into these tight black
spandex pants.

I knew I was too drunk
to be talking about anything
and too drunk to be
about anything but sex.
I also knew I was
too drunk to do
anything reasonable about it,
so I paid,
gave the barmaid a nice tip,
said goodbye to
everyone and

I got home,
walked upstairs,
and threw up
all over the books
on the floor of
my room.
There were some
good ones there,
some of which
I hadn’t read yet.
I picked them up,
wiped them off
with a dirty tee shirt,
threw the shirt in the trash,
and went to sleep,
ready for nightmares
filled with Nazis
and no women,
all because
life is too short
to be spent
looking for
peace of mind.

– Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua. Jose Padua is co-author of the blog Shenandoah Breakdown.

Everybody — a video poem by Dennis E. Bolen

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For Mojtaba Mirimirani As Late Biker Outlaw by Jose Padua

Posted on by josepadua Posted in Art, Daily, Jose Padua, Photography, Poetry, Writing | Leave a comment


Excess gives life a sweet sting.
It’s that flash of speed that
gives shape to the concept of motion,
dissolves the inessential contentment
of stability and gives way to bliss.
Speeding down the road on your motorcycle
you felt good, you felt high. You had
the speed matched through eye and hand,
the power of the world between your knees.
Riding your bike was almost better
than riding a beer swilling, pot smoking woman
on pills, a woman with a wetness
that wouldn’t quit, a woman who could make
you scream oh yeah oh yeah just one more time.
When the wheels took over one night
it killed you, and it was a while
before we knew. Maybe if we’d had the time
to find the right woman
she could have brought you back.
You’d be here with us tonight, drinking up
and getting stoned, thumbing your nose at death.
From now on whenever I get drunk
and lose my step I’ll remember how
you once saved me from drowning.
It’ll help me regain my balance,
help me stay young, and in a world
full of people who’ve never considered
becoming criminals, help me move ahead,
howling all the way, into a thousand years of midnight.

Jose Padua
José Padua’s poetry and fiction have appeared in Bomb, Salon.com, Exquisite Corpse, Another Chicago Magazine, Unbearables, Crimes of the Beats, Up is Up, but So Is Down: New York’s Downtown Literary Scene, 1974-1992, and many other journals and anthologies. He has also written features and reviews for NYPress, Washington City Paper, the Brooklyn Rail and the New York Times. He has read his work at the Lollapalooza Festival, CBGBs, the Knitting Factory, the Black Cat Club, the Public Theater, the Washington Project for the Arts, and many other venues. José also blogs at Shenandoah Breakdown with his life partner, poet Heather Davis, and at the blog, Kings of the Road, and for Salon.com. José Padua’s most recent collection of poetry is a chapbook, The Complete Failure of Everything (2008: The Apathy Press Poets, Baltimore).

Photograph by Jose Padua. Jose Padua is co-author of the blog Shenandoah Breakdown.